Vote for “Melanie’s Man,” Challenge 35 on The Iron Writer


Hey readers! Please take a few minutes to read and vote for my story, “Melanie’s Man,” competing this week on The Iron Writer!

The Iron Writer is a flash fiction challenge which pits four authors against each other in a match of skill and determination. Using four elements randomly selected by the host and creator of The Iron Writer, Brian Rogers, the authors take four days to write a piece of 500 words or less. Then we compete for bragging rights – the title of The Iron Writer Winner for our week’s challenge.

This is Week 35. I’m up against three other terrific writers and it’s fierce. Our elements to include in the 500 words or less story were Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Twister (the game), a hot air balloon, and fishnet stockings.

Click here to read my story (and the other three) and then vote for your favorite! Hope you enjoy “Melanie’s Man” – and hope you decide to vote for me! 🙂

Please note: as of 10/24/13, my name is misspelled in the poll, and the title is incorrect. The poll lists the title as “Melanie’s Eye” instead of “Melanie’s Man.” I’ve left a comment and will try to get it corrected. Hope this doesn’t discourage votes!  

Any author can participate on The Iron Writer. For more information on The Iron Writer, visit the blog site at Read previous winners’ stories in the archives, check out other authors, sign up for your own challenge, and check out the other contests available.

tattoo of the name melanie


Be Careful Out There!

There really are all kinds of people and companies out there waiting to take advantage of writers – newbies fresh to the playing field and established pros. I’ve been writing for professional publication since I was a teenager so I consider myself more of a pro than a newbie. I’ve done some investigative work on several writing sites that claim to pay you for your creative content and the outlook is grim.

The best rule of thumb is always “if something’s too good to be true, it usually is.” And this is the case when it comes to these writing sites. I was looking to make a little bit of extra part-time money writing. As a federal employee, I can’t make over a certain amount at an outside employer without obtaining permission. So I never agreed to write any articles, but still managed to find the deep, dark secrets of these so-called writers’ sites. (Actually I would have had to obtain permission to write the articles anyway.)

The first site I investigated is called iWriter. It’s a self-proclaimed “article writing website.” Basically clients post job articles on a discussion board and writers pitch their posts and articles to them. The clients determine the pricing per post and list that in the job ad. Most of them were pretty cheap, IMO, but I’m not surprised. Plenty of people think creative content should be cheap. The clients on this site can literally nickel and dime you down on your creative content, but since you, the writer, decide which articles to write, I’m not as annoyed by that as I could be.

iWriter claims it’s free to sign up. All you need is a paypal address for the money for your writing to be deposited either weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. I went through with a fake profile and entered all the info, then started searching for jobs. Here’s where it gets interesting. Job ads are posted in three categories based on the “writer type” you are – standard, premium, or elite. You start as standard, which makes sense – no one there really knows who I am and my experience.

But wouldn’t you think experience would count for something – either real world experience or actual experience on the site? It doesn’t matter. In order to become a premium writer you literally have to pay for it – to the tune of $147! They call it an “application fee” and try to assure you that you’ll make the money back. But job ads are about $10 each for 500-600 words, and I’m being generous by rounding up to the nearest $10. Most ads are in the $6-$8 range. Even if they were $10 a pop, you’d have to write 15 or so to start out even!

Many of the ads are written in poor taste, too, with terrible spelling errors and grammar mistakes. This drives me “nutz” as a writer. I realize that the so-called “clients” are seeking writers perhaps to help themselves with writing. But try to be respectful or just display common courtesy! One ad said “chick writers need not apply. No welcome.” The topic wasn’t for men’s health or car parts – it was for relationship help. Unreal! Another used ALL CAPS – beyond annoying.

I deleted my account after I found out about the $147 fee – which is basically the way the site makes money off the writers too. Writers then get screwed twice: their stupid fee, and the clients gyp them out of good pay for good content. Yes, of course, the content may not be all that great, but I’m thinking best case scenario. Clients can also reject content – so you may count on 15 stories to pay off the $147 fee and be rejected for all but one of them. Then you have to write more.

Bottom line? This is a scam, designed to prey on writers, and is solely created to benefit their “clients” instead of support the real people who create the content – writers. Avoid!

Do you know of any scams like this one? Or perhaps you know of a legit writers’ site? Email me or post in the comments so we can support each other as writers!

Happy Writing!

Daily Writing Prompt #3.13 – Fave color for the first time (8/28/13)

Daily Writing Prompt #3.13 – Pretend you are seeing your favorite color for the first time. Describe it. (8/28/13)

I don’t know about you, but whenever I think of the question, “What is your favorite color?” I’m reminded of the exact same line from the Troll at the Bridge in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I watched this movie over and over growing up and still catch it every year or so as an adult. (As proof that I am a fan, I also know the question that causes the Troll to say, “I don’t know,” and fall to his death – “what is the air speed velocity of a fully-laden swallow?”)

Everyone has a favorite – or a couple faves, right? What is your favorite color and why? Do you like red because you are a passionate person, or yellow because it reminds you of sunshine and daisies? Think about things that contain your favorite color.

Describe your favorite color as though seeing it for the first time. How does the color make you feel? Is there a smell or aroma associated with it? Is there an accompanying memory that reminds you of the color?

Happy Writing!

Writing Letters for Fun

We’ve all got ’em. You might not call your List of Things to Do Before You Die a “Bucket List,” but since it’s shorter to type and not as morbid, I call it that. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a Bucket List is a to-do list of sorts – places to visit, things to do, people to meet/see, etc, all activities you want to complete before you kick the bucket or check out from this world.

As a writer, of course completing a novel is on my Bucket List, but I hope I complete it much earlier than before I die…here’s hoping I won’t be dying any time soon. [knock on wood] I have a novel in progress and it’s my Bucket List item #1 for 2013 – that is, I hope to finish it by the end of the year so I can start getting it published in 2014.

Another item on my list was to write to a celebrity for advice. Random, I know. I don’t think I’ve ever written to a celeb before, although when I was a kid I did write to then President George HW Bush and got a reply letter back that I cherished. I had a friend in high school who wrote to everyone from Suzanne Somers to Madonna…and got responses back (including photos).

In my research, I found Chris Lucas, a fellow writer and sometimes actor, who has dedicated his life to the written word – literally. I bought his e-book on how to craft letters to celebrities to get responses and got to work.

I love writing letters and have two pen pals through the Letter Writing Alliance. (More info on that later this week) So taking a couple minutes each day to write another letter isn’t too hard for me.

Who did I write to? Well Curt Schilling, my all-time fave baseball player; Fannie Flagg, a favorite writer; Jane Espenson, a fave screenwriter/producer; and, OK, one of my celebrity crushes. I’m embarrassed to reveal that name but he knows whom he is. 🙂

The point is, I always try to find a way to write everyday – even if I’m in the grips of a horrible migraine, as I was for most of today. Too many days go by that I’m not successful at writing daily, but I’m working hard at it.

Do you write everyday? Do you enjoy writing letters? Have you written to any celebs – and have they written back?